Here's what we sold this week.
1. Murder on the Quai, by Cara Black
2. The Girls, by Emma Cline
3. Brighton, by Michael Harvey
4. Vinegar Girl, by Anne Tyler
5. Barkskins, by Annie Proulx
6. Modern Lovers, by Emma Straub
7. The Excellent Lombards, by Jane Hamilton
8. Sweetbitter, by Stephanie Danler
9. First Comes Love, by Emily Giffin (ticketed event 7/15, 7 pm)
10. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
If we were playing the "which bookseller read the most books in the top ten," the winner would have to be Sharon with five, though I'm feeling comfortable with three. Of Modern Lovers, Ms. Nagel writes: "Straub’s characters are spot on, and she perfectly captures both fumbling teenage romance as well as long term friendship and marriage." Kathy Waldman wrote in Slate: "Straub has a peculiar and gentle way of producing meaning, allowing characters’ trains of thought to run freely until they end up exposing a truth at once personally significant and broadly aphoristic." I had to work out what that sentence meant, but it's definitely a compliment.
1. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
2. I'm Just a Person, by Tig Notaro
3. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
4. Project Smoke, by Steven Raichlen
5. White Trash, by Nancy Isenberg
6. Stories From the Leopold Shack, by Estella Leopold
7. Is There Life After Football, by James Holstein
8. Shrill, by Lindy West
9. The Gene, by Siddhartha Mukherjee
10. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
With Garrison Keillor retiring Prairie Home Companion, I pronounce Tig Notaro NPR's favorite comedian. The now famous story about how she walked onstage for a gig in 2012 and said "Good evening hello, I have cancer, how are you?" has been featured on Fresh Air, This American Life, and with the release of I'm Just a Person, All Things Considered, where she was in conversation with Kelly McEvers. I'm guessing this is a hard book to review, which is why I'm mostly finding in-short capsules and profiles. "Your mom died, your girlfriend left you, you had breast cancer, and I don't like your book." I don't think so! AV Club gave her a B+, while EW gave her an A-. Since I didn't read the book yet, I'll have to rank it square root of -1 because my review would have to be imaginary.
1. The Exodus Code, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
2. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
3. The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
4. A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler
5. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald
6. Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
7. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
8. French Love Poems, collected by New Directions
9. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
10. Kitchens of the Great Midwest, by J. Ryan Stradal
While only at four books read on this top ten, I should be at six by August 1, because I'll have read A Spool of Blue Thread for our in-store lit group on July 11 and The Sympathizers on August 1, which feels really close together but that's because we bumped out the discussion for the July 4 holiday. It's kind of cool that Anne Tyler has two books on our bestseller lists this week. Now all we need is a movie tie in but I don't think there's anything on the docket. Announcing Anne Hathaway in The Amateur Marriage! you heard it here first. As you know, A Spool of Blue Thread was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (for 2015) and The Baileys Women's Prize, but you're probably wondering, what actually won the prize this year, announced on June 8. It's called Glorious Heresies, by Lisa McInerney, and it doesn't come out till August 9.
1. Project Smoke, by Steven Raichlen
2. A Time of Terror, by James Cameron
3. The Emotional Life of Your Brain, by Richard J. Davidson
4. My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor
5. The Barbecue Bible, by Steven Raichlen
6. Dying to Be Me, by Anita Moorjani
7. We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie
8. Man Made Meals, by Steven Raichlen
9. How to Grill, by Steven Raichlen
10. Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow
Guess who we cosponsored at Joey Girard's in Greendale this week? If you picked Steven Raichlen, you're correct, for his new book Project Smoke. You can watch this season's Project Smoke on Milwaukee Public Television's Create channel. I only got a taste of the menu, but a smoked jalapeño pepper wrapped in bacon turns out to be a good thing. If you had any doubt of what was the most popular book on Raichlen's backlist, it's The Barbecue Bible, by the way.
Books for Kids:
1. Hollow Earth, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
2. Lilly's Big Day, by Kevin Henkes
3. The Hidden Oracle, by Rick Riordan
4. I Am a Bunny, by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry
5. Desmond and The Very Mean Word, by Desmond Tutu
6. The Circus Ship, by Chris Van Dusen
7. Moon's Almost Here, by Patricia MacLachlan
8. Quiet Power, by Susan Cain
9. Marked Girl, by Lindsey Klingele
10. Snail and Worm, by Tina Kügler (event at Boswell Sat 7/9, 2 pm)
Amie noticed after a bit of a slowdown last year, sales are once again up for I Am a Bunny, which is generally our bestselling non-event kids title. We've already sold more in six months than we did for all of 2015, and while there is at least one store that has sold over 400 books in the past 15 months, we are in the top six stores on Above the Treeline for sales on this book. Once again, I suggest to all independent bookstores that they put this on their impulse table and be amazed at its consistently strong sales.
Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews Homegoing the first and already bestselling novel by Yaa Gyasi. He writes: "Gyasi has captured that feeling of time in a novel that dramatizes the consequences of slavery and the African diaspora from 18th-century Ghana through contemporary America in graceful prose that never wastes a word." Later on, he writes: "Gyasi writes with empathy for her characters and judicious restraint in her style. Even so, many lines demand to be savored." He's a fan!
Also in the Journal Sentinel, Chris Foran noted that there are two new histories of the U.S. Post Office! Jason has been featuring How the Post Office Created America, by Winifred Gallagher, but the other, Neither Snow Nor Rain, by Devin Leonard, slipped by me. In a sense, these two books work together, with Foran noting: "While Gallagher concentrates on the foundations of U.S. postal history, Leonard, in Neither Snow Nor Rain, takes a more anecdotal approach, giving his narrative more room to tell about some of the post office's more recent, and more revealing, dramas." I wonder if Mr. Leonard noted the new rule that the post office can no longer tape or provide tape for packages..."for insurance reasons (really, as sign said this in my branch)." And if you're wondering, Foran notes: "Both authors agree that politics, fed by an intractable labor environment, did more to put what is now the U.S. Postal Service on the ropes than email or the internet ever did."
And finally, Mike Fischer reviews Listen to Me, the newest novel from Hannah Pittard, who when she was based in Chicago, was a regular visitor. She's in Kentucky now, and that Chicago to Kentucky commute for a while probably helped inspire the new book. Fischer writes: "Pittard clearly aims to do so much more, using this portrait of an unraveling marriage as a window into the American soul — paralyzed by an all-consuming fear that leaves each of us alone, unable to truly listen to each other or even hear the sound of ourselves", but alas, he didn't feel she got there. We've got a good recommendation of the novel from Boswellian Todd Wellman - Listen to Me comes out July 5.
No, this is the last thing, Journal Sentinel wise! Jim Higgins interviewed Tina Kügler, author and illustrator of the delightful Snail and Worm. We'll be having a storytime and activities on Saturday, July 9, 2 pm.
Giving the Gift of Reading
1 day ago